Bernese Mountain Dog Shedding and your sanity

Bernese Mountain Dog Shedding and your sanity
Bernese Mountain Dog Shedding and your sanity

How much do Bernese Mountain Dogs shed? Short answer: it depends on the dog, but generally the Bernese are a moderate- to high-shedding breed. They generally shed throughout the year, with most shedding happening in spring and fall. 

The breed standard of the Bernese Mountain Dog tells us that a good Berner will have thick, long and silky coat- never curly, which is a breed defect. A dog’s coat is a good indicator of a dog’s health. An unhealthy Bernese Mountain dog will never have a shiny, luxurious coat.  The amount of shedding also depends on many conditions, such as season, the temperature of the environment, and the dog’s health.

Due to their rich, thick coat, the Bernese mountain Dogs are a moderate- to-high shedding breed. In addition, they were bred to spend lots of time outside, in the cooler temperatures of the pastures. If a dog spends a bulk of the time inside, with warmer average temperatures, it shouldn’t surprise the owner if the shedding increases.

Change of environment may also cause a change in you dog’s shedding patterns. For example, if your take your Bernese to an apartment or a house after living on a farm where they had a more active, more outdoor life, your Bernese will likely start shedding significantly in response to the raising temperature of the environment.

The amount of shedding also depends on many conditions, such as season, the temperature of the environment, and the dog's health

The amount of shedding also depends on many conditions, such as season, the temperature of the environment, and the dog’s health

On the other hand, if you move to the country and start spending lots of time outside with your Berner, especially in winter, you will likely see the amount of shedding drastically reduced. None of those changes are a reason for concern. On the opposite, it means that your dog is adapting nicely to their new life situation.

Paying attention to the patterns of your Bernese Mountain Dog shedding is important. If your dog sheds roughly the same amount every year, or similarly during the same seasons, there is probably no reason to worry. If the shedding is the same throughout the dog’s body, that is also a sign that the shedding is probably natural and normal. Not so if you see your pup losing patches of hair. If you see irregular shedding patterns, it may be that your dog has developed an allergy to a food or something in the environment.

The affected spot may be where the skin is most irritated and increased shedding occurs. It is also possible that the dog licks that particular patch of coat to deal with irritation, which can lead to further loss of hair and a sore spot. In this case, a visit to a vet is necessary to determine what could be irritating your dog’s skin and what could be done to help.

If your dog is losing too much of its coat for any reason, you need to take them to the vet. if the coat gets too thin, it may alter the dog’s ability to thermo-regulate, which can cause further health issues.

Many different conditions can lead to deterioration of he dog's coat and increased shedding

Many different conditions can lead to deterioration of he dog’s coat and increased shedding

Bernese Mountain Dog shedding and overall health

Many different conditions can lead to deterioration of he dog’s coat and increased shedding. A coat is not a permanent, unchangeable part of the dog’s anatomy: it changes throughout the course of the dog’s life, depending on age, season, health conditions, temperature, nutrition and other factors. Because of this, you don’t have to worry too much if your Bernese’s coat changes from time to time, within reason.

The Bernese generally experience increased shedding in the spring and fall, so that’s the time you might find yourself grooming and brushing your Berner more, or dealing with extra clumps of hair scattered around your house. If your Berner lives mostly inside, the shedding time will be prolonged. If you don’t enjoy having hair on your floor, your bed and sometimes your food, you might want to reconsider getting a dog, especially a large and long-haired dog like a Bernese Mountain Dog.

Nutrition

Nutrition is one of the defining factors when it comes to the health of your dog, and their coat in particular. If your Bernese’s nutrition is unbalanced, or lacks minerals and vitamins, it may cause allergies, dry skin, skin irritation, dull coat and shedding. You may want to consult your vet about the types of food that your Bernese may benefit from the most. Proteins and amino acids  are some of the most important nutrients to concentrate on.

Amino acids play a lot of important roles in an animal’s body, not the last of which is the dog’s coat health. If a dog isn’t receiving enough of these acids, it can cause dryness and brittleness of skin, bones and hair. The best source of amino acids for a dog is meat of all kinds, such as beef, lamb, turkey or chicken, with beef being the richest.

Hormonal state of your dog will also affect shedding

Hormonal state of your dog will also affect shedding

Proteins are also extremely important. Lack of dietary protein slows a lot of important processes in the body down, including the growth of hair. In the absence or lack of dietary proteins, the coat becomes brittle and its growth slows down, so the coat may become less thick and shiny.

If you are feeding your dog right, its very unlikely that they are lacking dietary proteins: that could happen, however, if the dog is mostly fed grains and vegetables and not enough meat. If you are unhappy with the state of your dog’s coat, you may want to pay closer attention to their nutrition to try and see what your dog may be lacking.

Hormonal state of your dog will also affect shedding. If you notice an abrupt change in the amount of shedding in your pup, it may be a sign to check their hormones to see if something may be off. This is a conversation best had with your vet.

Bernese Mountain Dog shedding: how does bathing affect it?

Washing your dog very often is generally not recommended, as it may change the natural oil layer of the coat and skin, dry out the skin or cause inflammation. This is especially true if you are not using harsh soaps or shampoos not specifically aimed at dog coats. However, nowadays there are plenty of specialized products formulated for dogs, that should not harm their coat or skin.

If you use a product like that, you don’t have to worry about washing your dog a little more often, especially if your Bernese tends to track a lot of dirt on it’s paws and coat, or during the tick season. It shouldn’t cause any additional shedding, if anything, washing your pup will help you get rid of some of the hair.

Don't wash your Berner too often

Don’t wash your Berner too often

Bernese Mountain Dog shedding and your sanity

Apart from using their rich, luxurious coat to protect themselves from cold temperatures, rain and snow, Berners also use it to track dirt and mud and ticks and other pleasant things inside your house. All of that, in addition to layers of shed coat that is already carpeting your floor.

If you are the neat, tidy and wonderful type of person that enjoys cleanliness above all, frankly, a Bernese Mountain dog with their levels of shedding may not be for you. Some Berners shed more, and some less, depending on their health, season, nutrition, etc. But they all do shed, and due to the sheer amount of hair, you may find that they shed significantly.

Their coat hairs are long and very visible, which makes them easy to pick up but can also make your guests think you have a resident bear. When a Berner’s coat is wet, it also has odor, which probably even the most devoted dog lover would not find entirely pleasant. And of course, dirt, mud and insects can be tracked inside on your Berner’s coat and shed anywhere in your house.

All of these are factors you need to take into consideration when thinking of bringing a Bernese Mountain Dog pup in your life. Of course, for a dog lover, a few hairs on their floor (or in the soup) are nothing compared to the amount of joy that a dog brings in their life. But it’s still something to consider.

 

Sources:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dog_coat_genetics

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dog_grooming

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